Mike and Michele write…
On the morning of May 27th, we arose at our normal early hour, had the buffet breakfast and disembarked for the island of Santiago at 8 a.m. We arrived on a beautiful black sand beach and did an easy hike on a flat trail. There were sea lions laying all over the place. They are not scared of people and barely move when you get near them. Here is a picture Michele took of a young one:
On our hike we also saw more marine iguanas, pelicans, cormorant birds, herons, and bright colored Sally Lightfood crabs. We walked over a small section that consisted of lava bridges with beautiful blue water below.
Here are a few more pictures:
Lava bridge with sea water below:
On our walk back to the zodiac, we took many more pictures of lava lizards. About halfway Mike was lucky to spot this male in the middle of lunch (a dragonfly).
We watched this lizard for a few minutes as he dashed the protruding dragonfly parts against the rock. Unfortunately, we couldn´t stay for the entire show because our group had gotten way ahead by this time.
After our hike we went snorkeling off of Santiago Island. Again, we snorkled with sea lions around us. We saw beautiful star fish and huge (2.5 feet) fish swimming in large groups. There were also so many brightly colored fish of all shapes and sizes. It was really incredible!
The afternoon excursion was to the island of Rabida. The cacti and red lava of Rabida made for very interesting landscapes. We landed on a very red sand beach and were greeted by hundreds of crabs and many sea lions. We went for an easy hike around the island and after our hike we got to do more snorkeling. The visibility in the water was outstanding and we were fortunate enough to see an octopus! Very cool!
Back on the cruise ship that evening we saw a huge thing jump out of the water with wings. What the…? The huge black and white thing jumped out of the water two more times, jumping up and throwing its wings out each time. Turns out it was a giant manta ray about 10 feet in diameter! Wow! Does life get any better than this?
Tags: Category #29: Ecuador